“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s been a while since I shared correspondence from Ye Olde Choral Ethics Mailbag (Inbox) with you. Today I’d like to share letters from two ChoralNetters with similar problems. And as you can guess, these two folks are not the only ones who’ve had to deal with these “new normal” problems.
Robin* tells me, after in-person learning this past fall, her district is going back to remote learning until the beginning of March. She’s not especially happy about it but understands the wisdom, with the Omicron variant running rampant in their community.
Some parents in her choral parents’ group are definitely NOT happy about it. A few are trying to force her to hold in-person rehearsals at a local church. After speaking with her department chair (who is also struggling with remote versus in-person rehearsals), it seems having one rehearsal per week in-person, not on school property or during the school day, would be acceptable. The only problem is the parents want it every day and during the school day. Her department chair is understanding BUT has made it clear if she does what her choral parents want, his hands are tied. Robin feels her job is on the line if she chooses to go along with the parents.
Robin has explained over and over once a week in-person rehearsal, not during the school day, is as good as she can do for right now. If things improve, COVID-wise, it may change. She thinks remote sectionals during the school day, then an in-person rehearsal once a week will work very well. There does not seem to be any way their usual March concert will happen, but a late April/early May concert certainly is possible. And this strategy will be helpful toward that purpose.
Her gut tells her to do what her department chair suggests and not be swayed by the parents. The parents might be angry, but everyone is angry right now.
Robert* had remote rehearsals for his community chorus, with parking lot concerts, almost from the beginning of the COVID nightmare. It was not up to their usual standards, but it was something and something is better than nothing as far as he’s concerned.
During the fall, they were able to have in-person rehearsals and a nice winter concert in early December. The December concert was almost back to their usual level of performance and the Board was satisfied. Or so Robert thought.
The first Board meeting of the year was last week, and Robert was chastised for the quality of that December concert. He tried to explain, after more than a year of patched together rehearsals and performances in unfamiliar and frankly, crazy venues, the singers were getting used to singing together in-person again. As the music professional, he told them it was going to take a while for the chorus to get back to normal, plus they were singing in masks. And no one has sung in masks like this before.
The Board wants to take a vote amongst the chorus’s singers about what to do if they have another lock-down. Robert thinks they should do what they did before, since he still believes “something is better than nothing.” The Board thinks they have a reputation to uphold and to do nothing might be better this time. Robert’s gut to telling him to get out of there!
My solution for both situations is the same; trust your gut. How many times have I said that here on ChoralNet? Many times, I assure you. Your gut, that little voice inside you, almost never leads you astray. But some of you forget to trust yourself because it seems too easy. “Too easy” is simple and you don’t want simple, you want something to agonize over because it somehow seems more correct. With all the difficulties in the world right now, go with simple, you’ll be happier.
Until next week, be well and be safe.